Food Farmacy at Health Brigade is a program for diabetic patients of the medical clinic. We offer fresh produce, nutrition education and coaching to empower patients to take control of their disease.
How Did Food Farmacy Come About
In the past, Health Brigade offered a traditional food pantry to try to solve the needs of patients. Now, instead of simply trying to satisfy hunger, Food Farmacy is trying to improve health.
Health Brigade piloted a Food Farmacy program in 2017. The program aimed to determine if a nutrition intervention that included providing fresh vegetables would help reduce HbA1C and blood pressure of diabetic patients of the clinic.
Fifteen participants received fresh produce weekly from our community partner Shalom Farms/Produce Prescription Plan, bi-weekly nutrition classes from VCU Health Dietetic Internship program, cooking classes from Shalom Farms, and bi-weekly sessions with health coaches. Participants were also supported by inkind donations from Precise Portions.
Overall, we saw a significant 2.2 point reduction in HbA1C and reductions in blood pressure for the participants of the pilot.
Programs such as Geisinger Health System’s “Fresh Food Pharmacy” and Charlottesville’s Local Food Hub’s “Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program” served as models for the program.
How You Can Help
One way you can support the Food Farmacy is to hold a Food Drive. Please download these materials for more information.